Beauty standards & fashion shopping: stereotypes and challenges

This time GLAMI Fashion (Re)search unravels the profound connection between consumers' body image and fashion shopping.

In recent decades, the concept of beauty ideals within the fashion industry has sparked intense debate. As we delve deeper into the relationship between fashion and the perception of the body, a profound understanding of its impact on individuals emerges.

How does it influence the way they shop for fashion? Is there a difference between women and men in this regard? Do consumers believe that brands have a responsibility to promote body diversity, or is offering a wide variety of sizes enough? Let's discover the answers through our most personal ever research among 20,242 respondents from 9 European countries.

More men than women perceive body standards in the fashion industry as realistic

More men (46%) then women (35%) described beauty standards in fashion as realistic. 44% of women claimed that the fashion industry promotes unrealistic expectations, while only 33% of men agreed with this view.

Do you believe fashion industry promotes realistic beauty standards?

Which statement corresponds to your opinion?

Standards are unrealistic for both women and men in the same way

Standards for women are more unrealistic

Standards for men are more unrealistic

Not sure

The biggest share of women (45%) believes that beauty standards are more unrealistic for women, while only 21% of men think the same

An absolute majority of men (54%) think that beauty standards in fashion standards are unrealistic for both genders.

76% of respondents believe that fashion shops have a responsibility to use different body types in their advertising

79% of women and 64% of men do think so.

Do you believe that fashion shops have a responsibility to use different body types in their advertising?

Yes, it would be great to make people with different body shapes feel more included

No, it is a business decision of the shop who they see as their customer

I don't care, it's not a concern for me

Not sure

The most unrepresented types of body

What are the body types which are not present enough in fashion advertising?


Bodies with diverse and atypical body proportions (different than hourglass for women/narrow hips for men etc)


Older and middle-aged bodies


Plus-size bodies

How do you feel about your body shape when shopping for clothes?

Very positive - I feel confident with my body when shopping for clothes

Somewhat positive - I have some insecurities but overall feel good

Neutral - I don't have particular feelings about my body while shopping

Somewhat negative - I have some insecurities influencing me during shopping

Very negative - I feel very negative about my body shape when shopping

Men feel more positive about their body shape when shopping for clothes

69% of women and 85% of men feel positive of neutral about their body when shopping for fashion (including 16% of women and 31% of men who feel very positive about their body when shopping).

On the opposite 31% of women and 15% of men feel somewhat or very negative about their body during shopping for clothes.

58% of respondents face problems related to their body shape when shopping for fashion

What are those challenges you are facing when shopping for fashion?


Inconsistent sizing across brands


Limited availability of sizes


Difficulty finding appropriate clothes for my body proportions

Opportunities to make fashion industry more welcoming to people of different body types.

What changes do you think the fashion industry could make to make people of different sizes and shapes feel less pressure and more comfortable when shopping?


Offer more sizes and lengths in their collections


Offer tips on how to dress according to your body shape


Use different shapes of bodies in advertising/catalogues


Do not photoshop models in advertising


Use more models with different body shapes on the runway shows

In our research 39% of women and 29% of men identified themselves as plus-size. Interestingly enough, plus-size men and plus-size women have differing levels of importance placed on the presence of plus-size models when shopping for clothes.

Is it important for you to see photos of plus-size models in shops/on websites where you shop for clothes?

Very important - it's a must-have

Somehow important - nice to have it

No, it's enough that products are available in my size

Not sure


In this research we used the results of a survey conducted among 20, 242 users (84% female, 15% male, 1% did not want to share).

Data collection took place in June 2023 in 9 European countries - Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia and Slovenia.

Want to know more? Not a problem!

This page does not cover following questions of our last research:

  • How negative feelings about the body affect the way people shop for fashion?
  • How has the body perception of respondents changed over time?
  • Which type of clothes did respondents find the most challenging to buy due to their body shape or size?
  • Which type of clothes are respondents hesitant to wear because of their body shape or size?

Please feel free to contact us or leave your email address, so we can provide you with more findings.

Fashion (Re)search Lead
Natalia Romanova

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